I’m Taking A Hard Look At My Blogging

I’ve been posting on and off on this blog since 2014. It’s time to take a hard look at what my blog is and how to get it closer to what I want it to be. I’ve been avoiding this since I started it because I was in college. I didn’t have enough time to focus on it the way I felt like I needed to. A blogger has a lot of cool things, like making my own work schedule, working from home, writing every day, and building a community. I wanted and expected at least some of those things, but I didn’t do any work to get them. As a result, my blog has just sort of existed for three years. Now that I’ve graduated college and have more time to devote to blogging, there’s no excuse.

I avoided committing to a certain consistency in my blogging.

Committing to a certain number of blog posts every week is hard. What happens if I don’t actually get the blog posts done? People will yell at me and my blog will die. Well, that’s what I thought. Sure, people might yell at me, but I’ve since realized that what I envisioned happening to my blog if I didn’t get all my posts up that week–a Satan-like being spawning up out of the internet and burning my blog down and dragging my lying, uncommitted ass to a hell-like place with him on the way back–was a bit irrational. I also realize now that setting a goal is supposed to help, not hurt. Also, I can set a goal and not tell anyone. If I do fail to meet my goal, you’ll never know if I don’t want you to.

I definitely overthought this whole consistency thing. There’s no reason why I can’t have a weekly post goal.

I was afraid to think about the focus of my blog or the direction I was blogging in.

I’ve always struggled with what niche my blog falls into. As a creative writer, deciding what to focus on in my blog about was always really hard for me. Sometimes I like to write about my day-to-day life. Other times I like to write fiction. Other times I like to write about books, or lgbt issues, or movies, or creative writing. I overlooked the obvious. I’m a writer. My blog is about my writing. All of it. Duh.

I was just so afraid that if I picked say, creative writing or lgbt blogger as the focus of this blog, it would limit what I could write about. And it would. But, I spent so long worried about what to not label my blog as that it pretty much did the same thing; I didn’t blog consistently about anything, let alone more than one of those things.

I was also afraid that picking creative writing as my blog’s focus would say something about the quality of my writing that I didn’t feel comfortable saying. I’m not Joyce Carol Oates or T.C. Boyle. I didn’t have a backlog of published stories and novels to put in my About section like other author-bloggers I know and read do. But, there are lots of writers who aren’t Joyce Carol Oates or T.C Boyle, including many of the blogs I do like to read. (I’m also pretty sure Joyce Carol Oates and T.C. Boyle don’t blog, which makes comparing the content on my blog to them useless. I just really like the work of Joyce Carol Oates and T.C. Boyle.)

“How-to write” blogs aren’t exactly my style.

I didn’t want to give off the illusion that I was qualified to teach creative writing. I also just don’t like writing about how to write. I’m bad a workshopping short stories, mostly for social reasons. If this turns into a “how to write” blog, or a “creative-writing-blogging” blog, I’ll lose interest in it super quickly. However, I am a firm believer in looking at models and being self-motivated to learn how to write better.

I realize now that the better way to show people how to be a creative writer through blogging is to actually post things that I write on my blog. That doesn’t mean I’ll post all my fiction or even all of my essays. In fact, I still probably won’t post much of my fiction. I’d rather the majority of my fiction get peer-reviewed properly and published only if it gets past an editor’s desk. My non-fiction, personal essay, and memoir writing (AKA, my blog posts) are a different story. I missed that opportunity because I lacked the confidence to write consistently. Leading by example it’s now my main reason for committing to blogging more consistently on a weekly basis. I want my blog to serve as an example for other writers who are thinking about starting a blog for their creative writing. Case-in-point: I need more content.

I had too many categories, and the categories I did have didn’t matter.

To be honest, my categories don’t really matter because my current layout doesn’t make the category of a post the priority. I had a general category, an essay category, fiction and poetry categories, review categories, spring, summer, fall categories, and even a category called The Norton Book. That’s too many categories for this blog. I don’t even use some of them anymore. Some of them are redundant, like general AND essays.

I either write non-fiction or I write fiction. Sometimes poetry. I don’t like how non-fiction looks, so I’ll just call that category essays. So, I do essays, fiction (sometimes) and poetry (rarely). Those are my three categories.

It still doesn’t really matter, because I like that my minimalist theme doesn’t make categories a big deal. Unless you’re looking for the category while you’re reading a blog post, you won’t even really know exactly what category something’s in. However, I think the categories help me more than they help you. They help me stay focused and organized over the long-term. Keeping to these three specific categories, there’s a better change my blog will have the content I want it to have. And in a year or so, new readers will be able to tell what I write based on what kind of content my blog has. Sure, it sounds simple when I say it like that.

My blog should serve as an example for how to use a blog to be a creative writer.

And that’s what the focus of my blog is. I’m not doing it through how-to posts or info-graphics. I do it through example. My promise, or mission-statement, is that by writing what interests me as a writer over time, whether that be fiction, personal essays on lgbt issues, rants about work, book reviews, or film reviews, it’ll serve as a model for self-motivated individuals who want to use a blog for their creative writing.

It’s going to take a lot of work to get there. But at least now I have a direction to go in. First, consistency. I have to write. I have the time now. If I get on here next week and say I don’t have time, I’m lying, because I do. (Unless I really don’t.) Either way, the possibility that my readers may yell at me if I don’t have something to post next week isn’t a flaw to blogs; it’s one of blogging’s advantages.

By organizing and focusing on what my blog is, I can set more realistic weekly goals and track my progress toward achieving those goals. I can also actually learn more about blogging with a professional and business mindset. That’s right; I’m putting together an actual editorial plan now. It’s going to be great. I mean, you know, I guess. If I don’t post next week, or any week, you’re free to yell at me. It would probably help, to be honest.

You can yell at me in a comment, below.

You can also contact me via my contact page for business inquiries.

My social media:

Twitter: twitter.com/ericshayhoward

Facebook: facebook.com/ericshayhoward

Instagram: Instagram.com/ericshayhoward

Also, if you have a blog, I’d very much to like check it out because I’m super curious.

a hand typing on a keyboard

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. emelle28

    I have a blog. I’m not a writer, per se. I’ve been where you are, though, with experimenting with daily blogging & wondering what my blog is ABOUT. It’s a lifestyle blog, I think, in that I only talk about shit that’s happening to me, in my life. On occasion, I will recommend a thing or activity. Mostly, I enjoy reaching a different audience than my social media or work gives me. I interact with anyone/everyone who comments, except for the ones Google recognizes as spam.
    Sate your curiosity at http://kickinaroundideas.blogspot.com

    1. Eric

      Heya, Emelle! It’s been a while. I love blogs like that. I’ll have to stop by yours a bit more.

  2. Pete Jakubowski

    Kudos, Eric! Looking forward to your new approach and how it shapes up!! Good Luck!!!

    1. Eric

      Thanks, Pete! And thanks for always reading and supporting my blog over these years. 🙂

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